Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of a Flexible Work Schedule

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There is a ton of data to support the benefits of flexible work schedules; from happier and more productive employees to a better bottom line. But what does the data say?

  • 73% of employees say flexible work schedules increase their satisfaction at work
  • Working less hours correlates with higher productivity in the form of increased GDP
  • 77% of employees consider flexible work schedules a key factor when job hunting
  • 36% of employees are more likely to leave their current company due to the lack of a flexible schedule
  • 90% of people have a better work-life balance with flexible work schedules
  • 4.3 million individuals in the United States already work from home at least half the time.

These numbers clearly show the many benefits of flexible work schedules, but what about the human aspect? 

Think about it. How many of us have come back from a lunch break with no energy but carried on working until it was time to go home, just because we needed to finish the shift? Or wished we had more time to run errands in the morning? Or wanted so desperately to go to the park or a fun activity with our kids in the afternoon? I’m willing to go out on a limb that many of us can relate to those scenarios above but with a strict work schedule, far too often is productivity hindered, as are our personal priorities. A flexible work schedule allows us to work at our peak, when we’re most productive, and gives us the ability to lead a healthy work-life balance.

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” – Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin

There are numerous pros and cons to flex schedules for employees, as there are multiple advantages and disadvantages with working 9-to-5 or freelance work and so on. However, as the studies show, a flexible work schedule is becoming more common play as more Millennials and Generation Z employees are entering the workforce. We dive into the many pros and cons, for employees and employers alike, of implementing a flexible work schedule.

But, let’s first answer a few basic questions before we dive in. 

 

What is a flexible schedule

 

A flexible work schedule provides employees with an alternative to the standard 8 AM- 5 PM but still totals to a 40-hour workweek. 

 

The types of flexible schedules available

 

A flexible schedule is agreed on by the employee and employer, however, a full-time employee is required to work full-time hours or more. These are the options available: 

 

Compressed workweek: 

A compressed workweek is perhaps the most common flexible work schedule as it includes a four-day workweek with employees working four ten-hour days. This type of flexible schedule gives your team an additional day off so they can really enjoy a work-life balance. 

health impacts of 4 day work week infographic

https://www.10xmanagement.com/the-4-day-work-week-stats-on-the-benefits-to-health-planet-economy/

Typically a compressed workweek works best in office settings, however, if you plan right, it can fit any business like retail, restaurants and so on. The benefits of flexible work schedules in terms of a compressed workweek lead to better work-life balance, better rest, less commuting and more.

 

Daily flexible schedule: 

Through a daily flexible schedule, employees have a couple options at hand:

  • Arrive early and go home early
  • Arrive later and stay later
  • Take extra time during their lunch break which is later made up 

A daily flexible schedule makes it possible to work 10AM to 3PM or 7AM to 4PM. This kind of flexible schedule differs from the standard hours and is decided on by the employee and the employer.

 

Flex-time: 

With flex-time, the employer is not obsessed over what time you clock in. Instead, they want you to work the standard amount of hours you agreed on and get all your tasks done. Isn’t this just THE dream? Come to the office when you want and leave when you want! As long as the employee is responsible with his or her time and achieves their goals, that’s all the matters. So if they only spent 15 hours in the office and the rest was done from home, hey, more power to you!

Flex scheduling benefits infographic

https://www.workingmother.com/blogs/editor/relax-boss-flex-boost-not-bust

 

“In the right roles and with the right people, flex does offer tremendous productivity improvement. It gives people time to process properly, and it gets them out of the office in terms of being bogged down in day-to-day admin. So there is more thought leadership that comes to the table, and that’s where your creativity and innovation come in.” – Osman Khan, Cofounder and CEO of Paddle8

 

There is no doubt that based on everything we have outlined above that flexible work schedules are effective and efficient. With the growing changes of the workforce, it’s important that you stay ahead of the trends to ensure employee engagement and satisfaction. 

 

Pros of flexible work schedules for employers

 

Better employee engagement and morale 

Our first point of the benefits of flexible work schedules for employees is being able to achieve a healthy work-life balance. So, if your goal is to hire top professionals to your team then you need to offer a flexible schedule.

Employees with a work-life balance are so much happier and fulfilled which leads to better employee engagement and morale. Plus, it also means they won’t bother to look for a new job somewhere else. 

A study by the London School of Economics and Political Science found the following, “Being able to achieve work-life balance is an indicator to employees that they are being treated favorably by their bosses. This most commonly leads to reciprocating accordingly by showing a greater sense of commitment and productivity.”

 

Recruitment is better

The Pew Research Center reported that millennials make up 35% of the workforce in the United States. And if there’s one thing we know about millennials, it’s that they want flexible work hours. So when it comes to recruitment, look at the statistics because it’s really a no-brainer on what you need to do to appeal to the largest growing workforce. 

FlexJobs also found that 84% of millennials want to be able to achieve a healthy work-life balance (which goes along with our first point above) and 67% said they want a flexible work schedule so they can be with their families.

Therefore, including a flexible schedule gives you a much higher possibility to attract the current top talent – it’s no secret that today’s job market is highly competitive so you need to cater to the current workforce with the right incentives and benefits if you’re going to stay ahead of the competition.

 

Less employee turnover

Business owners and managers are well aware of how expensive employee turnover is, so we won’t get into the numbers. However, what we will drive home is that when employees are engaged, happy and satisfied then they aren’t looking for work elsewhere.

turnover data without flexible scheduling

https://www.zenefits.com/workest/7-big-statistics-about-the-state-of-flexible-work-arrangements/

Studies clearly show that workers with a flexible schedule are more satisfied and happy than employers who don’t offer flexibility. Additionally, a flexible schedule offers employees a positive association with engagement which helps employers keep retention up – this shows a clear correlation with flexible schedules and employee happiness.

 

Higher productivity levels

When you have high employee happiness and job satisfaction then higher productivity is another trait that follows. All of which is due to offering a flexible work schedule. We pointed out already that flexible schedules also lead to less and a better work-life balance. Studies show much better productivity levels and increased morale when employees are offered a flexible work schedule.

“Flexibility in working hours brings convenience to the individual’s life which reduces their work stress and improves their mental and physical stability due to which they work effectively and efficiently and with determination and coordination.” – International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management 

 

infographic benefits of flexible work schedule

https://www.pasconews.com/the-benefits-of-a-flexible-work-schedule/

Modis found that when it comes to job perks, 50% of employees would choose schedule flexibility over unlimited vacation or free childcare – now that says a lot. In addition, the Harvard Business Review reported 88% of employees would leave a high-paying job to one with less pay if flexible schedules were available.

Less no-shows or late clock-ins 

Employees with a flexible work schedule are able to easily plan their personal schedules around their shifts so clocking in on time happens naturally. In fact, this study shows that employees who have the opportunity to make alternative work schedules to suit their needs are more likely to clock in on time. With a flexible schedule, you help dramatically lower no-shows and late clock-ins.

 

Create a flexible schedule with Connecteam

In just a click, you can create a flexible schedule that works for every employee. Easily and quickly add shifts and publish with a single click. Create single, multiple, flexible or team shifts, and even upload shift bulks with an Excel file. With calendar view, drag & drop options, and the ability to copy last week’s shifts, you save loads of time organizing and managing what needs to be done. Plus, there’s an in-app chat and employee directory, along with time tracking features. Connecteam has it all and more!

Find out more

 

Pros of flexible work schedules for employees

 

A healthy work-life balance

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20 million Americans preferred to work part-time over a full-time job. Why? That’s easy, a healthy work-life balance means everything. From family obligations to pursuing other passions to health issues or just hating a long commute, the reasons are endless.

“People today really value workplace flexibility and remote work because it allows them to focus their energies on work and life as opposed to commuting or other complications due to geography.” Ken Matos, Vice President of Research, Life Meets Work

Deloitte also reported that 16.8% of millennials chose their jobs because they can achieve work-life balance. Additionally the report showed that when deciding where to work, flexibility was a top priority. Here’s what the American Journal of Industrial and Business Management had to say:

“Some researchers believe that lack of balance is an effect of conflict between work and life responsibilities. In their study on the support for the work-life balance, researchers found that emotional and instrumental support for employees during the work has a positive relationship with the work-life balance satisfaction. The positive relationship has been found between work-life balance and work performance. Thus, successful accomplishment of life responsibilities (family and parental roles) results in better work performance. While finding a balance in life and work responsibilities increase general life satisfaction.”

When your employees have more of a say in their working hours, it is much easier to establish a healthy work-life balance. 

 

An easier commute 

“Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms. These common stereotypes don’t match reality—allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today… We need to de-parent, de-gender, and de-age the perception of the flexible worker.” – Cali Williams Yost, CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group and Work+Life Fit

With flexible scheduling, employees can work remotely which means they can avoid traffic and other stressful events when commuting. Or, they can head to the office at 10AM and can totally avoid traffic altogether, it’s a much quicker drive when you’re not out on the road at the same time as everyone else!

Plus, employees can save money on fuel and time lost while commuting. Sometimes, commuting more than an hour each way is common!

 

More opportunities to grow

When it comes to hiring and retention, companies have to offer employee development opportunities, especially as that’s what millennials and Generation Z are demanding. In fact, Gallup reported that “87% of millennials rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a job.” Gallup also reported that “opportunities to learn and grow as one of the top three factors in retaining millennials and the only aspect of retention that separates millennials’ needs from those of non-millennials.”

This is where flexible scheduling plays a part. 

With flexible scheduling, your employees can attend professional courses or classes when they aren’t working so they can achieve their educational goals and achieve higher professional skills related to their job role. 

 

Feel valued more

A trend to watch out for in 2020 is that a focus on employee happiness and showing appreciation is a must. In fact, 66% of employees reported that they would quit their job if they aren’t being appreciated by management. 

Employee recognition, appreciation, incentives, communication or whatever else you want to call it is crucial because it keeps your team from walking out the door. This means you lower the turnover rate and save serious money on on-boarding and training new hires. In fact, Gallup reported that companies in the United States lose $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity every single year. 

Like we said, disgruntled, disengaged, and unsatisfied employees are far less productive, not as creative and are more likely to leave. Your employee’s happiness can quite literally make or break your business. 

high cost of unhappy employees infographic

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246036

Here are 26 easy and affordable employee incentives you can adopt immediately, on top of offering a flexible work schedule. You must offer a healthy balance of the two to ensure employee happiness across the board. 

 

Lower costs for childcare 

Compressed, daily and flex work schedules all offer parents the opportunity to greatly lower the cost of childcare. If one parent can work from 6AM to 2PM, this means they can be there to pick the kids up from school and be with them until bedtime! All while then enjoying the rest of the evening as they choose. Whereas the other parent may work traditional hours so they start their day at 9AM. One parent is there for school drop-off while the other does pick-up. This balance offers parents the ease of managing two full-time jobs without the need for childcare.

 

Healthier well-being

An inflexible work schedule causes stress and low morale, in fact, 68% of employees with inflexible work schedules reported an “unreasonable level of work stress.” Whereas those with a flexible schedule reported 20% of work-related stress. In addition, 59% of individuals with an inflexible schedule want to quit their job compared to 22% with a flexible work schedule. 

10 ways to reduce workplace stress infographic

https://www.molyneaux.com/blog/reducing-workplace-stress-is-vital-for-safety-retention-production

The physical and mental health of your team are important to the bottom line, to the customers, to the turnover rate and to their own sanity in their personal life. A flexible schedule leads to more happiness, productivity and to much less work related stress.

 

Cons of flexible work schedules for employees

 

For employees who work best in an office environment can find it hard to work at their best when their coworkers don’t have the same work schedule. It may be complicated to plan for team meetings as coordinating around everyone’s flexible hours can cause a headache. However, most employers require their employees to work on certain days and at certain times to help avoid this nuisance. 

Not all job roles are suitable for flexible scheduling, like customer facing positions (a receptionist). Therefore, these job roles require set, regular hours. For employees like this, they may resent their coworkers who have more freedom in their schedule.

The line between work and home may become blurred. For example, if an employee finishes work at 2PM to pick their kids up from school then their boss won’t feel so guilty about calling them at 8PM for work matters. 

If an employee works much earlier or later than their coworkers then they’re often in the office alone or almost alone. This can lead to liability issues because if an accident or hazard occurs, the employee has no one to turn to. 

If an employee works from home some of the time, it can strain personal relationships. For example, your sister asks you to watch her kids because you’re working from home after all but you say no. Not everyone understands that working from home means working. 

 

Cons of flexible work schedules for employers

 

Most managers are used to seeing their employees clock in, do their job and clock out. This allows them oversight on what their employees do all day, however a flexible work schedule relies on trust. Some managers may not have total trust in their employees which can cause negative relationships. 

An employee may abuse the flexibility, especially if they can work from home. For example, they handle household tasks, watch TV or take a nap. Some of their coworkers who work the regular 9-to-5 may think of them as slackers as they can’t see their productivity with their own eyes.

Some customers may feel annoyed when a certain employee isn’t available. When you have a customer-centric job role then it may only allow for some flexible scheduling. Maybe working from home an entire day just isn’t possible.

 

At the end of the day…

It’s important that you weigh the pros and cons of providing a flexible work schedule, for both your employee and your business. We’ve highlighted numerous benefits, from increased productivity to less turnover, and while there may be some disadvantages, with careful planning and an employee app, you can easily combat the cons mentioned.

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Ranked as one of the best scheduling apps, Connecteam offers unique tools that make flexible scheduling easy and efficient, such as integrated in-app chat and shift collaboration that includes status updates and notes for every shift. With this unique approach to employee scheduling, you save valuable time and money as you keep everyone on the same page. Find out why Connecteam is the only scheduling solution for your business.

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